A hundred years ago today some women were given the vote in Britain!! That is something to be celebrated.
Unfortunately I don’t think it is quite the triumph it should have been. Firstly it should never have taken so long and secondly it was only partial.
Some colonies in Australia and some parts of the USA gave limited voting rights to women in the 19th Century. Finland was the first European country to give limited rights to women. Then Russia, Norway and Denmark. Britain, for all of its fight for human rights, lagged behind. However, they did not lag as far behind as Greece, Monaco and Switzerland. They did not give voting rights to women until as late as 1952 and incredibly 1971.
What a terrible state of affairs. Women were seen as second-class citizens. They had few rights.
In Britain those rights had to be fought for like all rights before them. They were not given lightly. The Suffragettes and Suffragists all campaigns and fought for women’s rights and eventually they won.
I have been reading a lot about why women weren’t considered equal. Partly that was religious, partly it was because they were viewed as physically and emotionally inferior and unstable. They were considered to be intellectually inferior and hysterical. All this seems unbelievable now but some people still believe this. In many parts of the world women are most definitely seen as second-class citizens, even possessions of males – of no more worth than other possessions.
I have also been reading other views of who should be eligible to vote?
Some people still believe women should not have that right. Saudi Arabia only gave women suffrage in 2011. They will be able to vote in 2015 for the first time. The Vatican City is the only place they are not allowed to vote. Wow!!
Some people in the USA think that Black people should not be allowed to vote. They actively try to obstruct their registration.
Some people believe that people should have to have an IQ test before being allowed to vote. They claim that democracy is too important to allow unintelligent people to have a vote.
Some people believe that only people who have an understanding of politics and democracy should be allowed the vote. An understanding of politics is necessary to understand what the philosophy of the different parties is and what type of society they would build. So there would have to be a test to give people the right to vote.
Some people believe that people should be able to vote at sixteen and some only at twenty one. Some argue that sixteen is too young to understand the ramifications and that brains have not developed until twenty one. Others argue that sixteen year olds are very aware, they have the right to consent to sex, get married, get a job, join the armed forces, to drive, pay taxes and should be allowed to vote.
There are new battlefields being drawn up on human rights and democracy. What do you think?